Scottish Government invests additional £4.5m in free childcare

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Children’s Minister Aileen Campbell has announced that a £4.5m package for early learning and childcare opportunities is to be expanded and made available to local authorities for vulnerable two year olds in each of the next three years from April 2012 – £1.5 million a year over the next three years.

The announcement by Ms Campbell will deliver free early learning and childcare provision for looked after two year olds – this investment is the latest step by the Scottish Government towards continuing its aim of expanding the quality of early learning and childcare provision, and the second allocation from the Early Years Change Fund.

The £4.5 million investment will be drawn from the wider £270 million Early Years Change Fund, which includes a Scottish Government contribution of £50 million over the next 4 years.

Development and governance of the Change Fund and the corresponding activity will be overseen by the newly established Early Year’s Task Force – which comprises key influencers and champions of the early years from across civic Scotland – to drive forward activity to support vulnerable children in their earliest years.

Ms Campbell said this will deliver free early learning and childcare provision for looked after two year olds.

She said: “As a Government, we are committed to increasing quality early learning and childcare opportunities as part of our wider drive to improve future life chances for all Scotland’s children by giving them the best start in life.

“While this commitment focuses on two year olds who are looked after, we will continue to work with our partners in the Early Years Task Force to identify how we should best support children and families in the future”